Natural Remedies for Lactation, Postnatal Care


If you’ve just delivered, then you’ve found out that being a mom is a “when-I-open-my-eyes to when-I-close my eyes job” and can extend even beyond that!

Apart from the initial feeling of ecstasy at having brought a living being into this world (who actually may look a bit like you ?) – by now you’re probably overwhelmed, aching everywhere, so tired and sleepy you could doze off standing up and feeling extremely bewildered at how emotionally vulnerable you have become with regard to that tiny little being that has all your attention.  I guess congratulations are in order? ?

But, and that’s a big but – if you want to survive the next few months and even years of this cyclonic journey, you need to take care of yourself too.

The biggest mistake mother’s make postpartum (after delivering), is to forget all about themselves.  Post natal or postpartum care and especially the first 6 weeks are extremely important for the mother’s long term well being and health.  This is the “puerperal period” when the stretched uterus is now moving back to its normal size, shape and position and if you’re not taking care during this time, could lead to serious complications.  The answer is some simple and effective ayurvedic medicine after delivery.

But before you start exploring ayurvedic medicine after delivery, it might be good to know what complications you can face if there is no mother care after caesarean delivery at least for the first 6 weeks.  

So here’s what you can avoid if you look after yourself in the post natal period.

  1. Haemorrhage.  Retained placenta – when your placenta is not expelled from your body after the delivery, can cause excessive or delayed bleeding.
  2. Vaginal discharge.  Lochia or postpartum discharge stops within 4 to 6 weeks.  But in the absence of post natal care, lochia discharge may be abnormal, infected and prolonged.  That’s why mother care after caesarean delivery is so important.
  3. Infections.  Fever with chills, anorexia (loss of taste), malaise (feeling of general discomfort, illness or unease), lower abdomen pain and abnormal vaginal discharge can all be caused due to bacterial infection if you’re not careful after your delivery.
  4. Wound or localized infection.  Incisions or cuts made during a caesarian or normal delivery can get infected and cause pain, develop pus, redness and swelling if the mother is not taken care of in the first few weeks of giving birth.
  5. Pain.  Chronic and prolonged pain in the vaginal area or around the stitches, body ache and constant tiredness can also occur if you don’t rest enough.
  6. Constipation.  Caesarian section or normal but prolonged labour can cause constipation because you may not be eating well enough, due to the medicines, or because you’re holding your bowels for fear of pain.  That’s why your diet after a caesarean delivery is so important.
  7. Hemorrhoids.  Swollen or inflamed veins (hemorrhoids) that cause discomfort and pain can be caused by pregnancy.  You could also get varicose veins because of it.
  8. Urinary Tract Infection (UTI).  Pain or burning sensation during urination, urgency and frequent urination suggest that you may have an infection in your urinary tract.  This condition is many a times aggravated by lack of postpartum care.
  9. Postpartum depression.  Mothers have mood swings, trouble falling asleep, lack of appetite, need to frequently cry, anxiety and irritability.  This can be avoided by giving her emotional and physical support in the initial few weeks and months and looking after her diet after a caesarean delivery.
  10. Rare complications.  Incontinence or lack of control over urine and passing of stools can occur in cases where new mothers have not been looked after.
  11. Mastitis/breast abscess.  Painful breast infection or abscesses can develop because of blockage of milk or bacteria as a result of improper breast hygiene and care.

shatavari for women's sexual wellness and fertility

The best news I can give you in this context is that Ayurvedic texts have dozens of references on post natal care.  In fact the Ayurvedic Sages knew exactly how important it was that a mother takes care of herself and her diet after caesarean delivery.  They were aware before time that the Vata dosha is aggravated after labour and therefore recommended various Ayurvedic medicines after delivery to ensure mother care after caesarean delivery.

So instead of giving you a long lecture here are the 12 golden rules of after delivery care for new mothers to survive the first few months.

  1. Rest.  This helps the process of recovery and to regain strength.  It would benefit to avoid strenuous activity or too much of household work at least for a few weeks.
  2. Stay warm.  Make sure to maintain your body temperature.  A hot pack on your tummy or feet and steaming can keep you warm.  Stay away from cold water and drinks and try drinking only hot or warm water.
  3. Ambience.  This matters to both the mother and the newborn.  You should both be in a clean, quiet, warm and cozy environment
  4. Abdominal Wrap.  After a normal delivery if you keep a cotton cloth or dupatta wrapped around your abdomen it will prevent sagging, support the abdominal muscles and keep the abdominal organs in position.  It will also avoid the accumulation of Vata. Make sure that the wrap is neither too loose nor too tight, it should be just comfortable. This kind of wrap may not be suitable for mothers who have undergone c-section and it would be advisable to ask your doctor before attempting.
  5. Sleep.  Newborn babies often stay awake at night and sleep during the daytime which can really put off your own sleep cycle giving you no rest at all.  Though easier said than done it may help to try and match your sleeping pattern with that of your baby’s. If possible try taking short naps in the daytime with your newborn.
  6. Bath.  Hot water baths and warm fumigation are best to make you perspire and shed the excess fluids accumulated during your pregnancy.  Saunas and steam baths are good remedies if taken regularly a month after the delivery.
  7. Oil massage.  Sesame oil, Dhanwantharam Thailam and Mahanarayana Tailam are very effective Ayurvedic massage oils for post delivery mothers.  A gentle massage with these oils before taking a bath or shower can help strengthen muscles, relieve aches and pains, improve blood circulation and rejuvenate the body.
  8. Breathing exercises.  A great way to relax and calm down is to practice simple breathing exercises which will still your mind and tranquilise your mental state which is understandably in a mess ?.
  9. Weight loss.  The delivery causes a weight loss equal to approximately 5 kgs including the baby, placenta and amniotic fluid.  You may shed a further few kgs in the first few weeks as the unwanted fluids are flushed out. After that however, considering the amount of physical and mental burden you’re going through, it will be an uphill task to gain back your pre-pregnancy weight.  Exercise and a healthy diet will help you make sure that you don’t lose or gain too much, whichever the case.
  10. Workout.  After six weeks it is important that you consult your doctor and try out some pelvic floor exercises, popularly known as Kegel’s exercises to strengthen your pelvic muscles.
  11. Hair loss.  Initial hair fall after delivery is common and usually stops after a while. The lack of time to regularly wash and look after your hair can aggravate this and a good way to prevent further hair fall is to use Ayurvedic medicated oils like Neelibhringadi Tailam or Bhringaraja Tailam to nourish your hair.
  12. Skin.  Stretch marks, darkened streaks on your abdomen and dark patches on your neck and face are common but they gradually fade as time goes by.  You can use Nalpmaradi Tailam to improve the quality of your skin and to make it glow.

 

How do you Improve Lactation?

Someone once said “bottles fill its stomach, but breastfeeding fills its soul”. You may only realize this later but one of the most beautiful aspects of being a mother is to be able to breast feed your baby.  Numerous studies prove just how beneficial breast feeding is for both the mother and child.

And if you want to make sure that you are able to give your baby enough nutrition and immunity through your breast milk then you need to look after your diet so that you can produce enough.

So if you make sure that your diet includes the following Ayurvedic recommendations, you won’t have to worry about lactation.

  • During your pregnancy, Ayurveda strongly suggests a diet packed with milk, ghee, butter and sweet herbs.  What this basically does is nourish the “rasa dhatu” from which breast milk is derived and thus increases the production of breast milk during the postpartum period.
  • Freshly cooked, light and easily digestible food is recommended with a sufficient amount of garlic, ginger, jeera, fennel, fenugreek, pepper, ajwain, milk and ghee which will prevent the aggravation of Vata to improve digestion.  Constipating foods like breads, burgers, pizzas and fries would be well avoided.

Ayurveda suggests some extremely effective home remedies to enhance production of breast milk which can be easily practiced at home.  Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Soak 10 almonds overnight, blend in a glass of milk with a pinch of cardamom and some sugar.  Drink on an empty stomach twice a day for best results.
  2. Regularly consume 1 to 2 teaspoons of ghee with your main meals.
  3. Hydrate yourself with enough water, milk and lentil soups spiced with jeera, pepper and ginger.
  4. Use methi and fennel seeds as much as possible in your meals.  You can also use them to make teas or consume their powder with a teaspoon of milk or honey every day.

 

How can Ayurvedic Medicines help improve lactation?

  • Shatavari and Ashwagandha powders consumed in milk are potent remedies to boost the production of breast milk.
  • Saubhagya Shunti Paka, Shatavari granules and Leptaden Tablets are also very helpful to increase lactation.
  • Shatavari Plus Capsules have properties that are very effective in treating PMS, menopause, PCOS, infertility and more.  Made from two, time tested ingredients – Shatavari and Fenugreek extract – it tones and strengthens the body while restoring and relieving the body tissues which are disturbed due to hormonal imbalances.  It is very helpful during pregnancy, reduces post partum bleeding, calms the mind and amazingly also improves lactation.

shatavari for women's sexual wellness and fertility

Which Ayurvedic Medicines specifically Prevent Post Delivery Complications?

There are a number of Ayurvedic medicines that are specially formulated for after delivery care and to prevent post natal complications.  Check out this list of effective remedies that heal and protect without any side effects.

  1. Dasamoolajeerakarishtam.  Flushes out excess water from the body, improves lactation, boosts strength and immunity.  It also improves appetite, prevents constipation and averts bloating and discomfort due to gas.
  2. Panchvalkala Kwatha.  Using this in a warm bath helps in healing surgical incisions (cuts) and reduces pain of post delivery hemorrhoids or urinary tract infections.  Used daily after bowel movements will help immensely. Can be used even 2 to 3 times a day in a warm bath to relieve chronic pain and discomfort.
  3. Panchvalkala Lepa or Arsha Hita.  Specific ointment for haemorrhoids.
  4. Shatadhauta Gritha.  For cracked and dry nipples.  To apply after cleaning nipples with warm water.  Avoid strong soaps.
  5. Bedag Lep.  To treat post partum stretch marks.

 

By now, you’ve probably discovered that just because you’re a mom, you don’t have the permission to even go to the bathroom for a minute! ?   I know it feels like you’re borderline psychotic by 10 in the morning!  Well I didn’t tell you it’s going to be easy, but I can promise it’s definitely going to be worth it.

All the best, be strong and hang in there, every mother in the universe is in it with you!